In two short weeks X-Babies #1 will be popping up in comic book stores everywhere. That is the regular cover by Skottie Young. Are you ready to see the variant cover with the X-Babies as zombies by Humberto Ramos? Are you sure? Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Category Archives: X-Babies
I was surfing around to see if anyone had leaked the zombie variant cover of X-Babies #1 this morning, and I found a treasure. That is the full Adam Kubert art from the variant cover of Uncanny X-Men #461. Why so special? Let me explain.
I had been working for Upper Deck nearly three years before I tiptoed the tikes into the arena. No one had ever mixed X-Babies and Vs. System before, and the new mutant power that had been given to the smaller characters with the X-Men team affiliation seemed fairly fertile. I named my deck “X-Babies Attack” and I wrote a full article about its strategy. The rest is history.
One year later, my efforts bore the ultimate in cardboard fruit. The progeny of my presence was rewarded by the highest honor possible in a trading card gaming community. Upper Deck named a card after my creation, and printed it in the Marvel Evolution set. It’s a beautiful thing.
That little bag of treats will be available from Marvel Comics in October. X-Babies in the flesh. And, in case that is not sweet enough for you, there will also be a Zombie Babies variant cover. Image not available, artist to be announced, thrill already engaged.
Remember the Wolverine fine artist riffs? October sees them all in one place. Break out the wine and cheese. It’s a beautiful thing.
Deadpool #900 is a Giant-Sized tribute to the coolest walking hamburger patty of all time. As if he could try to hide it, some of the solicitation seems to say Squirrel Girl:
Wade bares his soul (and a lot more) to a shrink who’s got major squirrels in his own attic.
Could that mean more Doreen Green? Remains to be seen.
That is not an official Marvel Comics drawing of the X-Babies. Unfortunately.
Eddie Lee draws them intensely.
HeroesCon in Charlotte, North Carolina was the scene for some pretty stunning revelations. None of them tops this.
The X-Babies are back. Marvel Comics announced a new four-issue mini-series starring the ultimate in Costumed Chibi. Check this out.
Gregg Schigiel and Jacob Chabot are in charge of the terrific tikes, and they are taking us back to Mojoworld. It seems the X-Babies have gotten too cute for their own tastes. In the course of fighting to regain their edge, they get to play with the obscure myths of Star Comics, including Wally Wizard and Royal Roy.
These books definitely have my toes tingling, due to the honor Upper Deck gave me when it comes to X-Babies. I need to break out my cards and start flipping. I can’t hardly wait for this “shiny, happy stuff”!
That is the card that I never imagined would be printed. The final card in the final official expansion set. Here follows the article that inspired its appearance in reality.
Risk Vs. Reward: X-Babies Attack!
By Rian Fike
Marvel Legends fulfills quite a few fanboy desires, not the least of which is a major upgrade in the power level of the X-Men. The new mutants are mighty good, especially the little ones.
Forty long months I have been patiently waiting for Domino in our game. When it comes to the mythological ladies, she is just my type: high contrast, luck based, and nearly impossible to kill. Now we get to turn her sideways Vs. System style, thanks to a 1-drop with a freaky little ability. Big fun comes in small cardboard packages.
Our tiny new Domino packs a large punch with her recovery ability, but you need to be rather odd to use it. Before we talk about where she will take us in the game, let’s see where she came from in the myths.
Neena Thurman plays well with others, but most of the time, she is a freelance mercenary. Domino is an independent artist, and her medium is murder. She was born as a custom-engineered biological killing machine. Project Armageddon created her as a deadly human hybrid. The hideous experiment was an attempt to manufacture the perfect weapon. X genes were exploited with disastrous results.
Neena was one of only two surviving test organisms. Chalk-white skin, awesome black eye-patch, and the uncanny ability to be in exactly the right place at the right time. She was rescued from the nefarious laboratory and placed safely in a nurturing monastery to grow up. Domino eventually emerged into adult life and became a dynamite addition to the X-Force.
As a member of Cable’s Six-Pack, the black-and-white hottie could really save the bacon when necessary. Her mutant abilities kick in subconsciously when she is in a dangerous situation. Domino cannot specifically control her luck powers the same way Longshot can, but when she is around, things always fall into place.
In Vs. System, that means she can keep herself and Cable flipped face-up at the beginning of the recovery phase every turn. There is only one catch. Your deck must have a built-in oddness about it. Check out Domino’s text:
Domino, Neena Thurman
Team Affiliation: X-Men
Whenever a Cable or Domino you control becomes stunned, reveal the top card of your deck. If its cost is odd, recover that character at the start of the recovery phase this turn.
2 ATK / 1DEF
My personal oddness often revolves around 1-cost Vs. System characters, and now they fulfill Domino’s board-maintaining probability powers. Before we jump into the construction of a deck to showcase this former test-tube baby, let’s look back at a list that caused some serious wailing at Pro Circuit Indianapolis 2007. We can use it as a basic template.
5th place on Day 1, 21st overall
Pro Circuit Indianapolis 2007
14 Kree Soldiers
3 Owen Mercer ◊ Captain Boomerang Jr., Prodigal Son
1 Thunder, Anissa Pierce
4 Kimiyo Hoshi ◊ Dr. Light, Sunburst
4 Booze Elementals
4 Forged in Crisis
4 Batman and the Outsiders
4 Truth and Justice
4 Recruiting Drive
3 Poker Night
1 New Baxter Building
3 Ego Gem
1 Reality Gem
Phou’s metagame masterpiece took our beloved Kim Hoshi to a place that I was not sure she could go, and it will remain forever as an inspiration to weenie lovers worldwide. It serves up a swarm of 1-cost characters to fuel the blinding glory of the female Dr. Light and her Outsiders tricks. Let’s translate it into baby talk using only Marvel Legends cards.
12 Multiple Man, Army ◊ Madrox
4 Cable, Nathan Summers
4 Wolverine, Logan
1 Jubilee, Mallrat
1 Shadowcat, Phase Shifter
1 Nightcrawler, Man of the Cloth
1 Bishop, Time Cop
4 Fastball Special
3 Battle Tactics
3 Healing Factor
3 Berserker Rage
3 Sneak Attack
3 Adamantium Claws
2 Overwhelming Force
2 Xavier’s Institute of Higher Learning
Phou’s OutSoldiers deck uses Kree Soldiers as fodder for a team-attacking character advantage. X-Babies are going Madrox. Multiple Man is back with a printed X-Men affiliation, and he loves him some Fastball Special. The OutSoldiers bounce guys back to hand to fill the red card requirements of the focus on swarming. X-Babies will rely on recovery to keep the characters on the table each turn. Phou’s win condition was total board control with Kim Hoshi. Domino is aiming for beatdown and burn with Bodyslide.
Cable is a perfect fit for the X-Babies deck. He appeared as an infant in Cable and Deadpool #7, and he has a sweet little 3-drop that rocks. Here is his heated text:
Cable, Nathan Summers
Team Affiliation: X-Men
When Cable enters play, target opponent loses 1 endurance for each X-Men character you control.
5ATK / 4 DEF
With a mom like Madelyne Pryor, it was inevitable that Nathan Summers would come out looking good. Cyclops is his father, so you know he is a gifted child. Marvel Legends gives Cable his eagerly anticipated Vs. System debut. Bodyslide makes him an intriguing addition to any deckbuilder’s repertoire.
Play only if you control Cable.
Remove target non-stunned character you control from the game. Its owner puts it into play at the start of your next attack step.
That means that Cable, Nathan Summers could swerve out of the game during the draw phase and allow another copy to be recruited. If his playmates have formed a kiddie six-pack to greet him, he will burn for 7. Then the fresh copy can Bodyslide out and return at the beginning of your attack step with its temporal twin. The first copy grabs another 7 opposing endurance, followed by 8 more from its parallel partner. That’s hot stuff.
In the myths, Cable can slip in and out of time. He spends his days trying to save the world by altering history. That is a sticky business, but it allows more costume changes than any comic book character I can think of. Whenever and wherever Cable shows up, he is always sporting a sharp new outfit.
There are only six cards in the X-Babies deck that have an even cost, so Domino will be a near lock to get lucky. The new Battle Tactics that the X-men have been given are like a turbo-charged Combat Protocols, and they cost 2. Overwhelming Force allows the team-attacking toddlers to remain unstunned, also at a cost of 2. The single copy of Bishop, Time Cop is the 4-drop babysitter. If you let Bishop try the Bodyslide, the kids will laugh their way around the table screaming “+4 ATK!” for the whole turn.
No X-Babies deck would be complete without a little Wolverine. The Logan version is back in Marvel Legends, and for a 3-drop, he is a really big boy. Scruffy may actually become the favorite win condition of the deck. He has some major ATK pumps that last an entire turn. The nursery includes toys that keep him from being stunned, recover him when he is, and ready him for a fur-flying finish. A small set of adamantium fingernails are poised to rip big holes in opposing characters and endurance totals. Wolverine’s Berserker Rage is about to arrive as a viable Vs. System strategy, and the X-Babies deck is only the beginning.
I have no idea how well the tiny tikes will hold up against proven classic decks. I can’t tell if there will be equally massive forces to oppose as the other new Marvel Legends creations crawl from the incubator. The only way to find out will be to build the deck and give it a go. I leave the little mutant rug rats with you now so that you can help me test them. We will say goodbye with a quote from Cable himself. When Nathan Summers revived Apocalypse in order to unite the X-Men against a common enemy, everyone called him crazy. His response?
“The risks are worth the rewards.”
Rian Fike is also known as stubarnes and he has a kitchen table in his crib. If you do some testing with the X-Babies in your playpen, send the results to firstname.lastname@example.org
“I wake up dreaming again.”
– Little Feat
I am done pinching myself. That card is real. The one deck archetype that I created all by myself, immortalized on official Vs. System cardboard. Life just keeps getting better for me. Being human in 2008 is simply exquisite.
One of the ways I maximize the human experience is a sort of deep reflection coupled with the urge to figure things out. So why do I like the X-Babies so much? I wonder.
I think one of the main attractions to Chibi characters is the sense of vibrant color that youth infuses into the grey mental objectivity of adulthood. I don’t ever want to grow up.
Kids retain an essential purity. People can be so cruel. They often grow increasingly ugly in attitude and perspective. Youngsters start fresh, and they represent the hope of remaining uncontaminated.
I also adore flying eyeballs, so I guess a certain quest for philosophical simplicity may be in play. I love to distill things down until they are a single point. Then, when I return to the complicated experience of humanity, it looks like a little child all over again.
That’s a photo of my classroom this morning, and it brings me to one more reason that I will always dig the X-Babies. Today I am teaching computer theory to second, third, and fourth graders. I explain how a silicon chip converts binary codes thanks to the ability of their individual atoms to be programmed to stay “on or off”. You can see the fabulous drawings that one class of seven-year-olds did scattered around the tables. Want another second grade artistic interpretation of the atomic-level workings of computer memory? Okay.
That, however, is not the thing that I feel every time I see the X-Babies bursting forth from their new Vs. System card.
When my son was four or five years old, I taught him about atoms. They are spinning bits of matter that are really made of energy, and there are no batteries inside. He figured out, in true X-Baby style, what that means.
“God is in the atoms!”, he said.
It was the best explanation I have heard, and I have been squealing like this ever since.